Sunday, March 30, 2014

Southern Charm

Pink Ruffles azalea
Azalea "Pink Ruffles"
Azaleas grow well in many areas across the world, yet I think of them as Southern. For the record, we do have native azaleas; however, most of the azaleas cultivated here are not natives.

Traditional Pink azalea
Azalea "Traditional Pink"
My pink azaleas are among the first to bloom. "Pink Ruffles," "Traditional Pink," and "Coral Bells," I purchased this year in one gallon containers. I'm really enjoying their flowers, yet my current favorite azalea is one with deep orangey-red blossoms that I planted four or five years ago. Perhaps I'll figure out its name when I finally finish organizing my records. Even though it isn't as photogenic as the pinks, I love observing it from the kitchen window. The spot where it grows receives a splash of sunlight in both early morning and late afternoon.

Coral Bells azalea
Azalea "Coral Bells"

Fashion azalea
Azalea "Fashion"
"George Tabor" and "Mrs. G. G. Gerbing" are old favorites. If memory serves, my grandmother had one of each growing in front of her house. 

Mrs. G. G. Gerbing azalea
Azalea "Mrs. G. G. Gerbing"
George Tabor azalea
Azalea "George Tabor"
Last year I added two reds to my collection, "President Clay"and "Midnight Flare." They grow at the back of the lot and are just now budding.  Joining them are my two recent additions, "Hershey's Red" and "Johanna's Red," which haven't yet bloomed. 

Midnight Flare azalea
Azalea "Midnight Flare"
In 2011, I planted a red variety called "Christmas Cheer" but where, oh where, did I place it?

President Clay azalea
Azalea "President Clay"
On this day last year, my native azalea had begun to bloom. Not so this year.

Native azalea
Native azalea
Native azalea at Brookgreen Gardens
Pink native azaleas growing at Brookgreen Gardens
pink azalea
This lovely pink is one I planted or transplanted last year.
I've been looking though my records hoping to discover its name.

I continue to add to my azalea collection as I attempt to recover an area taken over by English ivy and Florida betony. Two more additions back there this year: "White Gumpo" and "Renee Michelle." Tonight I ache from pulling up vines and digging, pulling up vines and digging, pulling up vines and digging….

Southern Charm azalea
Azalea "Southern Charm"